SEC Targets RIA firms that Hire Blacklisted Broker-Dealers


( Sept 12-Registered investment advisory firms (RIA) that employ brokers with disciplinary histories have specifically moved into the crosshairs of Securities and Exchange Commission examiners.

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations announced Monday it will be paying particular attention to firms that hire advisers with rogue backgrounds to ensure those advisers are being properly supervised.

The SEC did not respond to a request for comment, but the enhanced oversight could have multiple effects on advisory firms, according to regulatory specialists.

“It will significantly effect a small percentage of firms, and I think firms will look more closely at individuals with disciplinary histories,” said Brian Rubin, partner at the law firm Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan. hosts the largest database of brokerdealers across 30+ countries in the free world. To access the database, please click here (subscription required)

Actively-Managed ETMFs Coming to a BrokerDealer Near You blog update is courtesy of reporting by and profiles deal between RIA titan Envestnet and mutual fund king Eaton Vance, which is now approved to promote its novel, actively-managed ETF product “NextShares.” NextShares are exchange-traded funds that are both actively managed and unlike any other ETF product, does not disclose the underlying components of the respective ETFs. These products now go by the acronym “ETMF”

Since its approval, Eaton Vance has had to work hard to convince competitive money managers to license its patent and persuade broker-dealers that it is in their interest to make NextShares available to advisers even though the funds don’t offer the same underlying fees to encourage distributors. Eaton Vance’s NextShares-promoting subsidiary, Navigate Fund Solutions, has had to make that case before it even has a product on the market or a distribution partner. provides a global directory of regulated securities professionals operating in 30 major countries across the free world.

The deal is a big win for Eaton Vance, an actively managed mutual fund company that’s hoping to replace those products with a potentially more tax-efficient vehicle that could lower costs and improve performance for investors. Envestnet is a major gatekeeper in the fast-growing market of independent financial advisers, providing services for over $700 billion in client assets.

In a statement, an Envestnet executive, Jim Patrick, described NextShares as a “groundbreaking fund structure” and said the company sees offering the funds as part of its mission to help advisers deliver “wealth management services in the most cost- and tax-efficient way possible.”


NextShares was the first and remains the only structure approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission that allows an actively managed open-end fund to trade on exchanges without regularly disclosing its holdings. Portfolio managers resist showing the securities they buy and sell, in part to prevent being taken advantage of by competitors.

Index funds don’t face similar restrictions. Those passive products have dominated the fast-growing $3 trillion global market for exchange-traded funds.

For the full story from, please click here.


“SEC-Approved” Ponzi Scheme Shut Down, 10 Years Later…

ponzi update courtesy of Mandy Perkins from Bank Investment Consultant.

California-based RIA is in big trouble after leading investors to believe that what they were doing was given the OK from the SEC. GLR Advisors were running a basic ponzi scheme over the last ten years with no one including the SEC noticing until recently.

Most advisors know better than to oversell a product’s performance, but what about its “approval” by the SEC?

The SEC barred a California-based RIA from the industry this week after the firm was charged with misleading investors — including falsely claiming that its fund was “SEC approved.”

According to charges filed by the SEC in 2012, John A. Geringer of GLR Advisors and GLR Capital Management raised over $60 million by inflating the performance and misrepresenting the strategy of a private investment fund he told investors was “SEC approved.”

Between 2005 and 2011, the SEC says, the firm advertised its “SEC approved” GLR Growth Fund as having returns of 17%-25% during every year of its operation.

The commission says GLR’s marketing materials claimed the fund was “tied to well-known stock indices such as the S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow Jones, as well as in oil, natural gas and technology-related companies.” But since mid-2009, the regulator says, the fund did not invest in any publicly-traded securities. Instead, funds were placed in “illiquid investments” in two private startups and used to pay back other investors and fund the “entities Geringer controlled,” the SEC says.

Beyond that, the SEC charges, “to the extent Geringer engaged in actual securities trading, far from generating high annual returns, he consistently lost money.”

Geringer could not be reached for comment. His attorney William Michael Whelan declined to comment on the case.


Needless to say, registration with the SEC does not imply endorsement by the regulator. So why were these advisors able to get away with it — not to mention the Ponzi scheme — for so long?

According to Todd Cipperman, principal at Cipperman Compliance Services, the SEC can only examine about 10% of advisors each year, making it easier for bad behavior to go undetected.

“This stuff goes on. There are bad folks out there and they lie to people,” he says. “You know, it’s just like any other law enforcement…[the SEC] can’t catch everybody and they eventually caught these guys.”

Third-party examinations could help solve this problem, Cipperman argues. “This is exactly the kind of case that it could have helped with,” he says. “A small advisor like this is not a targeted priority.”

But even advisors who aren’t using false statements or running fraudulent schemes should be careful about how they market their services — particularly when mentioning SEC registration.

Cipperman’s advice? “At the end of the day, if you have to scrunch up your nose when you make statements, it’s not a good statement to make,” he says. “We all accept a certain level of puffery in marketing, but when you’re a fiduciary, you can’t do that…you need to back up your statements with facts.”


The SEC’s decision to bar Geringer comes just weeks after one of his partners in the business, Chris Luck, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $33 million in restitution for his role in the scheme.

Last year, both Luck and Geringer pleaded guilty to securities fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, according to SEC and Justice Department documents. During the trial, Luck told a California court that investor money brought in by the fund paid both his salary and bonus payments, according to the sentencing statement.

Both Geringer’s case and that of another partner, Keith Rode, are ongoing, according to court records.

Fidelity Investments Partners With BrokerDealer Credit Suisse for IPO Deal Flow

Fidelity Investments and investment banker/brokerdealer Credit Suisse have formed a partnership that gives Fidelity’s retail brokerage clients access to participate in initial public offerings and follow-on equity offering underwritten by Credit Suisse. The partnership opens up IPO investing for customers of Fidelity’s registered investment advisor (RIA) network, its family office clients and its retail brokerage customers who qualify.

For Credit Suisse, the arrangement opens up its potential investor base to a wide arena of new customers. “It gives us the ability to distribute shares into the mass market that we didn’t have before,” David Hermer, Credit Suisse’s head of equity capital markets for the Americas, told New York Times DealBook.

About 232 companies have gone public so far this year, nearly 79 percent more compared with those in the period a year earlier, according to data from Renaissance Capital. By Mr. Hermer’s reckoning, the I.P.O. surge is still only in its early stages.

Credit Suisse completed 63 book-run IPOs in the first half of 2014, its most active half-year period on record. For that period, Credit Suisse ranks number two for IPOs in the U.S. and in the EMEA area–Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Looking ahead, Credit Suisse is working on several high-profile deals, including the much-anticipated IPO for Chinese internet company Alibaba.

And, the thinking goes, the more companies that Credit Suisse helps take public, the more that Fidelity customers benefit. The IPO participation is open to Fidelity investors with a minimum of $500,000 in retail assets.